Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Eve Albert, Schoen’s Bridal World
May 19, 2021
By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University
The wedding gown is gorgeous, white and flowing. Brides will go a long way to find a dress like this one. In this case, the wedding dress came a long way too. This wedding dress is from halfway around the globe, and it is only available in one place in the United States: A bridal shop in the middle of rural Kansas.
Last week we learned about a flower business in Downs. Today we’ll learn of another remarkable business in this community.
At right: Schoen's Bridal World | Download this photo
Eve Albert is the owner of Schoen’s Bridal World in Downs. Eve is short for Evgeniya. She is originally from Russia. Eve grew up with an interest in clothing and fashion. She studied clothing design at two colleges in Russia. There she learned about sewing, custom work, and business management. Then she met a Kansan and in 2000, came to America. He was originally from Beloit and was living in Lucas at the time.
In 2009, Eve learned that Schoen’s Bridal World in nearby Downs was up for sale. This business had been founded in 1972. It had been serving brides for more than 30 years.
“I had always wanted a shop of my own,” Eve said. She bought the shop from Shirley Schoen and kept the name Schoen’s Bridal World because of its good reputation and long-time name recognition. Eve is now the owner and fashion design consultant.
Today, Schoen’s Bridal World carries multiple lines of wedding dresses from across the U.S. and around the world. Eve also enjoys the challenge of custom work. “A bride can tell me what she wants, I take measurements, and design something to fit,” Eve said.
Schoen’s Bridal World offers another feature that may be unique in the country: Free alterations on any dress sold at Schoen’s. “That’s my gift to the people who are willing to come to the shop,” Eve said. “I do those alterations myself and I don’t charge for them.”
The combination of types of gowns, excellent customer service, and free alterations has drawn customers from all over. Eve has sent gowns from California to Florida and as far away as England, France, and Russia. She has also brought in lines of dresses from Spain and Italy. Thanks to her international connections, she has a dress from Ukraine that is exclusively available at her shop in Downs, Kansas.
Technology has made a big difference from the time Eve started. She can communicate by email with vendors all around the globe. “Facebook and Instagram make it convenient to communicate with brides,” Eve said. A couple of part-time girls assist her in the shop also.
In addition to designer bridal gowns, Eve can do dresses for bridesmaids, mothers of the brides, flower girls, or even proms, but her primary business is wedding gowns. Schoen’s Bridal World showroom features hundreds of dresses.
The Knot (as in “Tie the knot”) is an independent wedding-related website. This site included multiple customer reviews about Schoen’s Bridal World.
Comments included: “Schoen's selection is fantastic, and Eve was incredibly hospitable. …They know what they are doing when finding you a dress and truly want you to find what is best for you. … The absolute BEST place to get your wedding dress! The staff and selection couldn't be better!!! ...I cannot say enough great things about this dress store! Eve is absolutely amazing and so helpful with everything you need! Free alterations is unheard of and I drove over 12 hours to come get this dress at this store and do not have any regrets! They have so many dresses to choose from and Eve was so flexible!”
That is remarkably high praise for a bridal shop found in a rural community such as Downs, population 814 people. Now, that’s rural.
The wedding dress is gorgeous, white and flowing, offered only at Schoen’s Bridal World. We commend Eve Albert for making a difference by applying her skills to helping brides find just the right dress. When her work is done, then here comes the bride.
Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.huckboydinstitute.org.